When I was younger, Lamentations was NOT my go-to book of the Bible, except for chapter 3:22, 23, the verses that must have inspired the old hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. All the negativity and lamenting and sadness and depression found in this book seemed so overwhelming, and since it has a lot of poetic language, I also found it hard to understand.
Today’s Scripture was definitely not on my list of favorites:
“Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him.
Let him put his mouth in the dust,
Perhaps there is hope.”
Lamentations 3:28, 29 NASB
But as I have gotten older, I have experienced more and more sadness. Loved ones die, divorces happen, family and friends move away to distant locations, and friends share the griefs that they are experiencing with me. The burdens can be quite, well, quite burdensome!
I’ve learned that in this life on this earth, God has given us the gift of tears to deal with all this sadness and that He can handle, and even invites, our laments, as we lift up our cries to Him.
- Job did it.
- David did it.
- Jeremiah did it.
- And even our Lord Jesus Christ did it: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” he cried out from the cross.
So, what’s this about putting one’s mouth in the dust, anyway? Is Jeremiah telling us that we should eat dirt?
I don’t believe so. I believe this is poetic language for the posture that we are to have before God as we prostrate ourselves before Him, face to the ground, calling out to Him from the most ragged brokenness of our hearts.
Eugene Peterson put it this way in his paraphrase:
“When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer….Wait for hope to appear.” Lamentations 3:28, 29 The Message
Look at these examples of those without hope who bowed before Jesus:
- a leper (Matthew 8:2),
- a synagogue official whose daughter had just died (Matthew 9:18),
- a desperate foreign mom begging for deliverance and healing for her daughter (Matthew 15:25),
- and a demon possessed man (Mark 5:6).
The Lord looked with compassion on each one and healed and delivered those who needed it and even raised the official’s daughter from the dead! These people dared to hope that Jesus could help them.
They cried out to Him, face to the ground, and
- He took notice,
- He had compassion on them,
- and He rewarded their hope and lifted up their heads to face Him with grateful rejoicing hearts!
But what if the person you were praying for died or continued on with his evil plans? Is there still hope for you?
With God, the answer is a resounding “YES!”
In Psalm 22, just a few verses after the psalmist prophesies of the future sufferings of the Messiah, he says,
“You who fear the LORD, praise Him;” (verse 23),
“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.” (verse 24, emphasis mine)
Sometimes we may feel like God has hidden His face from us, but He has not, even though He has not answered our prayers the way we had hoped He would.
Perhaps you are in a place where you feel there is nothing good in your life anymore, and your life is no longer worth living.
I understand. But let me tell you from experience, sister, there is still hope in God! Don’t give up!
God’s Word was such a comfort to me during those dark, soul-crushing days. Verses like the following reminded me that there was still hope:
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 NASB
I couldn’t see what that good might be, but I believed that it was true for me, too.
And it’s also true for you!
I have discovered the hard way that my hope was not supposed to be in the one I lost in the first place. My hope is supposed to be in God!
And in some strange way, coming to the end of my rope and to the point of bowing on the floor in recognition that He is my only hope, I have found Him who is also my Peace, my Joy, the only true Lover of my soul.
The One who knows me best, warts and all, is also the One who loves me unconditionally forever. He never even sleeps! So I can rely on His love and listening ear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of every year!
He promised me decades ago that He would “never leave me nor forsake me”, and He never has, and He never will!
And sister, you can trust Him, too. There is still hope for you in the land of the living! Bow before Him and cry out to Him and wait for the salvation of the Lord.
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